Crazy History Of The Geisha!


From questionable origins to the insane amount
of money it costs oto train…stay tuned to number 1 to find out the most amazing things
you didn’t know about Geisha! Number 10: Origin Of Geisha. As far as female entertainers are concerned,
mention of them goes as far back as the late 600’s where they were called the Saburuko,
which literally translates to serving girl. Even then there were two different classes
to them; those that were only entertainers, and those that also performed other favors
for their patrons at gatherings. It was only in the 16th century that the professions
officially began to separate, however, and different classes were introduced. The Yujo would entertain guests while the
Oiran would perform erotic dances and skits for the guests. As time progressed, the art grew and the full
entertainment hubs were created, where they even had other traditional arts such as poetry
and calligraphy. The term geisha didn’t emerge until the 18th
century, however, and they were only used as entertainers and dancers while the Oiran
would perform other acts for the guests. Number 9: The Rise Of The Geisha. Strangely enough, around the time the term
Geisha was being thrown around for the first time, men were primarily used as geisha and
were only there to perform and act as a sort of pre-show warmup for the headline act, which
were the oiran. As the popularity of Geisha grew, however,
young women decided to join the ranks of the geisha, and by the 1750’s it was dominated
by around 90 percent women. Male geisha numbers continued to dwindle,
despite them not being barred from training, until it got to the point where it was simply
not socially acceptable for men, anymore, to train to be geisha. Meanwhile, the Geisha industry continued to
grow, resulting in the Oirans business to be protected and making it illegal for Geishas
to sell their bodies, as well as perform. The ending result of this, at the height of
the industry, meant that there were as many as 80,000 Geisha; with young women preferring
to dance for patrons over becoming Oiran. Number 8: Difference Between Maiko And Geisha. There are actually a few differences between
a Maiko and a Geisha, but, before we get into them, we’d like to ask you to take a moment
to like this video and subscribe to our channel using the buttons below! Don’t forget to click that little notification
bell, too, so you can always stay up to date on new videos from Zero2Hero! The first main difference between the two
is that a Maiko is a Geisha in training and, while they do look very similar to actual
Geisha, there are some subtle differences between the two that make one distinguishable
from the other. Starting with the hairstyles, a Geisha has
a relatively simple hair style, with a wig over their natural hair, while Maiko’s style
their own hair into any variety of styles, but not just whatever style they feel like
for the day, because the style determines what part of training the Maiko is involved
with. Even the hair accessories are different between
the two, with Maiko’s wearing several elaborate ornaments, which could include combs, fans,
ball shaped trinkets or combs…while a Geisha wears a much simpler ornament or decorative
comb. Even their kimono are different, in that a
Maiko will have a much more intricately decorated kimono, with a wide belt, that is embroidered
with all kinds of flowers and designs…while a Geisha will wear a much more conservative
and formal looking kimono with far less detailing. Number 7: Geisha Training. The cost of becoming a Geisha is quite steep
in more ways than one. First off, the cost of training from beginner
to fully trained geisha is roughly $500,000 dollars. Training also takes around 6 years to complete,
roughly the same amount of time it takes to become a full-fledged doctor. Naturally, most women can’t afford this and
most Maiko’s have a sponsor, or Danna that covers their full training. In Japan, men use sponsoring a Maiko as a
status symbol, to show how powerful and influential they are and Danna’s are held in high regard. Maiko’s also live full time in a house called
an Okiya, which is run by an Okasan, which means mother. This mother oversees their entire training
and accommodation, and fully trained geisha continue to stay there once their training
is complete. Aside from the cost and the amount of time
it takes to become a Geisha, Maiko’s are also very rarely allowed to watch television and
can only see their families every few months. Also, Maiko’s are not allowed to date for
as long as they are in training. Number 6: Geisha Are Expensive. Training to be a Geisha is expensive, much
like being a doctor, and in turn it is expensive to have a Geisha at your event. This is also much like a doctor’s visit. Okasan’s are to Geisha what hospitals are
to doctors, and they put in a lot of time and effort into the training of the Maiko’s. Once they are fully trained Geisha, the Okasan’s
act as their manager and need to be contacted directly if anybody wishes to have a Geisha
at their event. As mentioned before, Geisha are not cheap
either, and to have a Geisha at your event can cost up to $300,000 Yen, which is roughly
$2,600 dollars. Bearing in mind that they typically spend
between 2 to 3 hours at a venue it makes them possibly even more expensive than doctors. This is especially true when you hear that
Geisha typically travel in pairs meaning that just to have the privilege of telling people
that your party had Geisha at it will cost you over $5,000 dollars, that’s without all
your other party expenses! Number 5: Geisha Clothing And Make-Up. Geisha are possibly best known for their silk
kimono and their white painted faces, but there is far more detail and effort to it
than meets the eye. First of all, their hair and make-up can take
3 hours to apply and assemble from start to finish. And, while Geisha and Maiko’s used to have
their teeth dyed black in the old days, that part has at least been stopped today, and
is only used by Maiko’s at ceremonies. Then there is the kimono, which can cost upwards
of a million dollars and can take 3 years to make, which is ridiculous to think of…especially
if you consider that they are often only worn! Even the paint they put on their faces used
to be an issue, in that in the old days it was lead based paint…which caused all kinds
of health issues before it was swapped out for what they use today. Number 4: Tourist Attractions. Geisha live extremely secluded lives, out
of sight of tourists, and even the locals. As such, many of the photos that have been
taken on the street in towns known to have an Okiya are actually of Maiko’s that are
being given a rare day of freedom, or…they are quite possibly one of the many tourists
that pay to be made up like a geisha while they roam the streets. A Geisha’s life is so private that they are
not even permitted to use a cell phone, and are very rarely allowed to watch TV. Typically people are not even permitted to
enter the premises of the Okiya and must be given permission by the resident Okasan. Foreigners are also not allowed to enter the
premises without supervision, and even then are not allowed into certain areas. Geisha are given two days off a month, but
even on those days, while they are free to visit family, they are to demonstrate perfect
manners and maintain the image of a geisha in order to set an example for any other geisha. Number 3: Lisa Dalby, The Blue Eyed Geisha. If you don’t think that Lisa Dalby is a typical
Japanese name, you would be right, and Lisa was the world’s first Western Geisha. Her journey began when she was 16 and was
on a gap year vacation in Japan, after finishing high school a year early. She initially fell in love with the sound
of a Shamisen, which is a traditional Japanese instrument and is often used by Geisha. So, Lisa took the time to learn how to play
the instrument while she was in Japan. She went on to research a PhD on Geisha, and
through this, got in touch with her old Shamisen teacher again. She once stated that she didn’t intend on
becoming a Geisha at first, but her teacher had Geisha students as well and, through his
connections, doors were opened for her to be invited into the community in order to
better understand Geisha and their way of life. She accepted the invitation and became famously
known as “the blue eyed Geisha.” Number 2: Yuko Asakusa, The Oldest Geisha. Celebrated as the oldest Geisha alive today,
Yuko Asakusa celebrated her 100th birthday in 2017. Yuko began her training as a Maiko when she
was just 13 years old, and took her only 3 years to become a full Geisha. She was once quoted saying that becoming a
Geisha was an easy career choice, and that she will continue to perform until her last
breath. Amazingly, Yuko is still regularly booked
and, while she doesn’t dance anymore, due to her age, she still plays instruments and
sings when she is working at an event. Also amazingly, despite her age, as of a 2014
interview with her, she was still attending around 20 events a month. Stating that a first class Geisha of her ability
is in high demand and, judging by her schedule, it does seem to be the case. Aside from her reservations to work at events,
Yuko is also a teacher and teaches new Maiko’s about the Japanese traditional arts. Number 1: Dwindling Numbers. As we mentioned earlier in on, at the peak
of the era, there were believed to be 80,000 Geisha in Japan. This was in the 1920’s and, at the time, it
an extremely popular option for young women. Since then, however, the geisha community
has been on decline, and it is believed that today there is only around 1,000 left. There are a number of theories on what may
have happened to the community, but the most common belief is that, as times have moved
on, the young women willing to lie in seclusion for years on end have moved on with them. Then there is also the sheer price of becoming
a geisha and the strict rules and expectations that comes with it. With that said, traditions have become more
relaxed than they were in the old days and many geisha now run their own businesses in
their spare time or have substituted the Shamisen for karaoke machines. What do you think about the art of a Geisha? Let us know in the comments below and…take
care!

Comments 14

  • Wow, I did not really how expensive training is! I learned quite a bit today! Nice job on the vid bro.

  • What? Wowzers…. @ #5 Fact

  • Great vid!

  • Great vid! One of my favorite books is Memoirs of a Geisha, I read it a lot in High School!

  • Very interesting!

  • I want to be a geisha because I was born in 1991

  • I have geisha doll

  • My eyes are blue

  • I really wonder how one can research all this and use so many pictures of real geigi and maiko AND STILL include so many Non-Geigi/maiko pictures & artworks. You even showed a cosplay picture of the 3 soldiers from mulan dressed as courtesans (mulan is a chinese tale. not japanese.). do you not see the huge difference in a real Maiko/Geigi and those pics?

  • 2:02 isn't it Chinese opera????

  • Okay, some things I want to correct:
    – Male "geisha" started as entertainers called taikomochi. I believe they were never actually called geisha.
    – Most modern day geisha/geiko and maiko/hangyoku do NOT have a danna, or sponsor. It is too expensive for many, even more successful businessmen. All expenses for training, debut, kanzashi, and other needs that may arise are taken on by the okiya at which the geisha or apprentice works at. Cost does not bar a girl from becoming a maiko/hangyoku or geisha/geiko.
    – Once fully trained and debuted as a geiko, geiko do NOT stay at their okiya permanently – they are required to become jimae, or independent, in a set timeframe that varies from district to district in Kyoto. This often does not apply to geisha outside of the Kyoto area because the lives of, say, Tokyo geisha, is much, MUCH different and modern than geiko and maiko in Kyoto.
    – Maiko are allowed to date, but most are just too busy with their hectic training schedules.
    – Hiring a geisha/geiko or maiko/hangyoku can indeed be that expensive in more exclusive districts like Gion Kobu (Kyoto) or Asakusa (Tokyo), but it can run cheaper in other districts and there are PLENTY of events that offer banquets with a geisha/maiko at a reasonable cost, and even more events aimed at tourists, giving a lot of people an opportunity to meet a maiko or geiko. Actually, an ozashiki with a geisha in Tokyo from the Yoshinoya okiya is around $100/hr per geisha, if I remember correctly. Some okiya are just more modern and more open to the public.
    – It does not take a geisha that long to apply makeup and get dressed. It takes maybe an hour, two hours if you're really pushing it.
    – Kimono that geisha use are not worn "only once." Each okiya has a collection of kimono that they reuse until they're no longer up to standard; these things are REALLY durable, and some of the older okiya still use the exact same kimono or other accessories that were seen in photographs from the 20th century.
    – Maiko and geiko don't live THAT much of a secluded life. Senior maiko and geiko in Kyoto can have cellphones, and they can be easily seen walking in the evening around Gion quarter but they try to avoid the tourists because, obviously, they get mobbed by people trying to photograph them.
    – Lisa Dalby was NOT a geisha, nor was she even the first Western geisha (whoever shills that lie is a fraud; including the infamous Sayuki or Fiona Graham). Those pictures of her in a geiko ensemble are from Obake, a tradition similar to Halloween, where the geiko and maiko of Gion (and I'm pretty sure geisha outside of Kyoto as well) dress up to scare away evil spirits in the New Year, and Dalby was allowed to participate. She was researching in Gion, but didn't ever debut as a geiko. If you're looking for a real Western geisha, try Kimicho from the U.S or Fukutaro, who is from Romania.
    – Yuko is FROM Asakusa, as in the area of Tokyo. May she rest easy! 🙁 Also, she did not train maiko. She trained hangyoku in Tokyo. Maiko is a Kyoto-only term for apprentice geisha.
    – The low number of geisha we have today is indeed due to people losing interest in tradition as things become more modern, but it's also an aftereffect of World War 2 on Japan.
    – Lastly, please don't use such confusing images next time. You're showing images of real maiko and geiko one minute, then people in bad geisha-like costumes, then hangyoku and geisha from other parts of the country (I think I spotted Teruha of Mukojima in one of them), then oiran/yuujo, then tourists doing maiko henshin (makeovers). It's quite confusing for people who know nothing about geisha, and with myths about geisha being as prevalent as they are, it's not a good look. Maybe this video needs a remake, in which case I'd gladly offer my guidance lol.

    Anyway, I did think the video was decent overall! Definitely have seen much more misleading and just downright disrespectful videos about geisha – pinning them as prostitutes instead of real women who are exquisite artists – so overall, this was pretty ok! If you ever decide to do a Take 2, just hmu lol.

  • You giot some stuff wrong, like: Geisha can have a boyfriend, they don't have the time to it.Thecan't have cellphone's in their first year as a geisha, they watch tv when they're free, basicallty at 3 am when they wait for their maiko sister to come home so they help undress them geisha have cellphones, look on instagram LOL (they aren't fake)

  • A million dollar kimono is not true. There is a hotel in Japan who provides weddingstays for 1 million dollars where the kimono is included but that does not mean the kimono costs 1m$.
    One of the most exspensive kimono's ever was around 700K but for the Meiji Emperor. And as far as I am informed he was not a GEIKO;-)

  • so much wrong facts..bad pictures also

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